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July 26th, 2009


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09:58 pm - Torchwood: Children of Earth
I never, ever thought I'd be posting about Torchwood. (Except perhaps to mock it.) Yet I just finished watching this special, and...bloody hellfire. *is stunned almost into silence*

First, a note or two on why I never watched Torchwood before, so you know where I'm coming from:

1. I watched the first ever episode, and was appalled by the fact that the writers seemed to think that "grown-up" means sex everywhere.

2. As a side note to #1, I could not stand Owen. I spent the episode wishing he would die and go away.

3. can be boiled down to a rather hysterical: "OMG THIS IS NOT MY CAPTAIN JACK! WHAT THE F*** DID YOU DO WITH MY JACK???"

I do recall liking Gwen a lot, tough but not impervious; and Rhys had me from his very first appearance. But none of that made me want to watch the show, so I rather firmly did not, even after series 2 got much better comments from my flist.



Holy frigging crap.

There, now. That is grown-up scifi. Thank you for figuring it out.

Still love Gwen and Rhys. Together? Some kind of superpower couple cuteness. *dies* Eve Myles is pretty, but she's gorgeous when making happy faces at the husband character. \o/ So many points for married couple who survive the story.

Even more points for not making Gwen's pregnancy a plot point (though the rant about it being Torchwood's fault, that the Pill doesn't stand a chance against all the crap she's exposed to on a regular basis, was hilarious); for making it part of what's going on with her in this story, part of her relationships and her self, but not more than that.

Jack still isn't quite my Jack. But he seemed more like it here than he did when I tried to watch the show before. (Though I recall thinking, when he had so much glee over Ianto getting the new coat for him, that this attachment to that outfit is so out of proportion as to be pathological; and I had a momentary desire to write fic about that.)

Hum. I liked how the Jack/Ianto relationship was handled. Actual consequences to loving someone, yes, thank you for touching on the real world there. Though I admit that the feminist in me twitched at the implied power imbalance in the relationship.

But I like Ianto, even on such short acquaintance, and was willing to go with it.

In fact... Laugh if you will, but I cried when Ianto died. I'm tired, I know that had something to do with it. And I didn't cry during the actual death scene (though Jack's "Stay with me, Ianto!" in his eyes-front-soldier voice just about killed me), but afterwards, when Jack woke up with Gwen beside him, and Ianto's body.

Holy crap, show. *whimpers*

The secondary characters were so, so well developed. I'm assuming that Jack's daughter and grandson were already mentioned in the show, but I didn't need that background to grasp what was happening and feel the full weight of family involvement. (Oh, my word, I adored Ianto's sister and her family. SO MUCH LOVE.) And even the politicians, making tough decisions with a mix of desperation and horrific practicality, were sympathetic. I could see their positions even if I wanted to strangle them. (And I was so proud of Lois for standing up to them when she needed to.)

My favorite secondary character, though? Has to be Frobisher. I cried as much over what he finally had to do, over that closed door and four shots, as over Ianto (which was more over Gwen and Jack anyway). I...wow. Just wow, this man; so far from a hero but so dedicated and hardworking and brave in his own way, seeking ways through the ever-thickening morass.

Part of me can't quite believe what Jack did to stop the 456.

The rest of me thinks that it was precisely in character. That Jack had to do that (or so he thought, and I certainly see no way out from here); that he would even, perhaps, have considered it better to sacrifice his own blood than that of someone else's child--which is completely shit, but I can see why he might think or feel so.

Poor Gwen. She keeps her family, but loses everything else in the saving.

Grown-up scifi. Yes. That's what this is. And why I recommend it.



There's a moment--I think it's between Gwen and Rupesh. They're talking about the past few years, about aliens contacting Earth, and Rupesh tells about the growing number of suicides, particularly about a Christian woman who lost her faith. That sort of story doesn't comes up much in this universe, so I am always intrigued when it does, especially when it has to do with the consequences of the stories we see every week; and it always makes me want to write fic.

The other moment that struck me was when Gwen is recording her "how the world ended" message, and says that she knows now why the Doctor doesn't always come: surely, in times like this, he must look at humanity and be ashamed of them. Normally I prefer references that don't over-emphasize the metaphor of the Doctor as God; but this worked like gangbusters for me, because I've heard this said before in the context of why God doens't always intervene, and my reaction to Gwen saying this about the Doctor ("he would never, not for the reason you're saying, that would not ever keep him away") is the same as my reaction to this speculation in a theological context. I found it interesting and I'm glad it was there.


So there you have it. Recommendation: watch.
Current Mood: enthralledenthralled

(6 lit candles | Light a candle)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:jhall1
Date:July 27th, 2009 09:58 am (UTC)
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I agree with the great majority of what you've written. Yes, series 1 of Torchwood was pretty dire, for reasons that include the ones you give. Series 2 was a lot better, but of course not nearly as good as CoE. Whoever would have thought that Russell Davies was capable of writing so well!

"I'm assuming that Jack's daughter and grandson were already mentioned in the show..."

No, that came as a surprise. (Unless there had been a fleeting reference to them previously which I missed.)

Though I could sympathise with most of the politicians, who were in an impossible position, I thought that the PM was totally repulsive, almost more so than his predecessor "John Saxon" had been. He had reached the point where he saw hanging on to power as more important than anything else, to the extent that I don't think it even occurred to him that Frobisher might have a problem with being asked to sacrifice his daughters.

It's interesting to compare the respective moral dilemmas that the politicians and Jack faced. Is it any better to sacrifice one child to save 10% of the world's children than it is to sacrifice 10% of the world's children to save the planet? I think it probably is, but you can certainly argue the other way.

I agree with you that Gwen was wrong about the reason for the Doctor not showing up. But then she's never met him, so can be excused. :)
[User Picture]
From:izhilzha
Date:July 27th, 2009 05:03 pm (UTC)
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Really, Jack's daughter was not mentioned in the show? I'm not sure what to make of that. It certainly worked!

I thought that the PM was totally repulsive, almost more so than his predecessor "John Saxon" had been.

That's a good point; he really doesn't have much empathy, and I was as appalled as Ms. Spears to hear him describing the situation as "lucky." A manipulator who doesn't even have anyone else's best interests truly at heart.

Is it any better to sacrifice one child to save 10% of the world's children than it is to sacrifice 10% of the world's children to save the planet? I think it probably is, but you can certainly argue the other way.

I think it depends on whether one is willing to accept that sometimes one must perpetuated a lesser evil to prevent a greater evil. In that sense, both Jack and the politicians were choosing what they perceived as the lesser evil; and Jack's choice was less evil (quantitatively, as in the number of suffering children was less), so it was the better choice? I'm kind of annoyed at Jack for not at least telling Stephen "I love you" or something, for not making the effort to connect personally in that moment to the grandson he was about to kill. But perhaps that would have been asking too much of him.

I hope Gwen does meet the Doctor someday. :)
[User Picture]
From:jhall1
Date:July 27th, 2009 05:29 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Really, Jack's daughter was not mentioned in the show? I'm not sure what to make of that. It certainly worked!

Yep. :)

"I thought that the PM was totally repulsive, almost more so than his predecessor "John Saxon" had been."

That's a good point; he really doesn't have much empathy, and I was as appalled as Ms. Spears to hear him describing the situation as "lucky." A manipulator who doesn't even have anyone else's best interests truly at heart.


Yes. Incidentally, I meant to refer to Harold Saxon of course, but mixed the character name up with the actor's name! Talking of names, Bridget Spears would be Ms B Spears! Someone's little joke, I assume.

"Is it any better to sacrifice one child to save 10% of the world's children than it is to sacrifice 10% of the world's children to save the planet? I think it probably is, but you can certainly argue the other way."

I think it depends on whether one is willing to accept that sometimes one must perpetuated a lesser evil to prevent a greater evil. In that sense, both Jack and the politicians were choosing what they perceived as the lesser evil; and Jack's choice was less evil (quantitatively, as in the number of suffering children was less), so it was the better choice? I'm kind of annoyed at Jack for not at least telling Stephen "I love you" or something, for not making the effort to connect personally in that moment to the grandson he was about to kill. But perhaps that would have been asking too much of him.


Probably. You could argue that one important difference between Jack and the politicians was the level of remorse he showed, though I suppose that could be accounted for by the victim being his grandson. (Coupled with the likelihood that his daughter will probably never forgive him.)

I hope Gwen does meet the Doctor someday. :)

There was some doubt about whether there would be another Torchwood series, but CoE had excellent viewing figures in the UK so there probably will be. So perhaps she will get the chance to meet him. Though given all that's happened, even if Jack returns getting Torchwood up and running appears to be a very big job. In the meantime, I don't envy the inhabitants of Cardiff, as presumably nasties will continue to emerge from the Rift.
[User Picture]
From:mosinging1986
Date:July 27th, 2009 01:41 pm (UTC)
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Staying away from spoilers, but I read your first 3 points and that was EXACTLY my reaction!!! All three points, perfectly. And I love Gwen. And I love Rhys.

Started watching CoE and it seemed to be going toward much of the same with the sexual stuff, so I had to turn it off. Someone else said there was some nudity also? I just don't need to see that.

So it just kills me that I'd love to watch this because I heard it was so good, but I wish they didn't have to add the other stuff when it doesn't even seem necessary. Bah! Maybe if it's ever out on DVD I can FF through those parts.
[User Picture]
From:izhilzha
Date:July 27th, 2009 04:21 pm (UTC)
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I think you should watch it anyway. And it should be out on DVD within the week, I think--check Amazon!

As for sexual stuff, there are no sex scenes in CoE; there are a grand total of...*counts*...I dunno, probably 7-8 kisses, mostly between Gwen and Rhys (2 between Jack and...but you don't want spoilers right?). I could count the sexual jokes on the fingers of one hand, which was a pleasant surprise. *g*

Yes, there is brief male nudity, but it is non-sexual and story-related; I didn't really mind.

I'm not sorry I watched it. Not sure where your boundaries lie, exactly (I'm not overly comfortable with what I tend to see as...I dunno, canonical slash?...but I thought it was well handled, and this is Jack Harkness we're talking about, so.)
[User Picture]
From:jhall1
Date:July 27th, 2009 06:14 pm (UTC)
(Link)
It's taken them a long time, but I think they've finally realised there's a difference between "adult" and adult.

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